By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Fresh off the thriller that was WWE WrestleMania 23, that year’s Backlash had plenty to offer itself.
Let’s start with the Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Champion The Undertaker and Batista that actually stole the show.
That would’ve been the main event if you ask us.
There were other moments that you probably didn’t realize happened here – Vince McMahon was crowned ECW World Champion (eye-roll), WWE Women’s Champion Melina and Mickie James traded fists while in splits and a Batista spear literally brought the stage down.
This made us realize that 2007 maybe wasn’t so bad after all, as veterans like Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker delivered gutsy performances.
Now, let’s get to the nooks and crannies of “WrestleMania 23: The Important Stuff Part II.”
It seems as if the internet may have bursted at the conclusion of last night’s World Title match.
In case you’re curious, three men- Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns- attacked Ryback ruthlessly, similar to Nexus’ original debut and powerbombed him through the announce table.
CM Punk picked up the scraps, retained his Title and today marks the one-year point of his reign.
Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns are all familiar to NXT viewers and how WWE will have them explain their actions should make for good television.
It’s fortunate that there was this to boil over from because besides for a few shiny spots, this was a mostly forgettable show.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
– One week after Samoa Joe’s riveting debut that involved a sideline beatdown of Seth Rollins, it was probably no secret that the angle would be the focus to open the show. It’s funny how the Rollins-Triple H storyline mulls along through the months, but with big happenings, it heats up. At this time, Rollins was likely to miss WrestleMania, which actually put more heat on Joe and rather than ignore that, they used it to their advantage. The opening video delved into all that, with sleek editing that actually brought meaning to Trips’ promo on Rollins last week and set up the moment well for Joe to attack. We’ll guess Joe will be branded as “The Destroyer” from hereon out. The key as always is the followup.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Saved By The Gong
– The Commissioner Stephanie McMahon/General Manager Mick Foley/Seth Rollins/Braun Strowman backstage segment was packed with enough tension to start things off interestingly. Apparently, Jan. 9 is official Raw GM Performance Review day, as Steph spoke about Foley’s (who sported a circa 2000 haircut) promise to bring The Undertaker. Rollins’ portion was newsworthy in a special Rollins way as he informed them he was now in the Royal Rumble match. That was followed up by Strowman, who demanded either Goldberg or WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns for the double spear. Rollins being Rollins made him go right at Strowman, to Steph’s disapproval. In classic Steph fashion, she told Foley to get things under control and summon the ultra lord of darkness to the red brand. Or else. Pretty to the point stuff.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
– It was nice to see SmackDown Live’s 900th episode fall during the Survivor Series go-home week. In the realm of tradition and nostalgia for the blue brand, there was also a purpose. The opening video nicely “relived” various highlights from past talent like Eddie Guerrero, King Booker, Edge, JBL, Booker T and Stone Cold Steve Austin. The DX Bus explosion was shown as was the infamous Gore by Rhyno that took Chris Jericho through the original oval set. It seamlessly transitioned into current storylines where we saw hype for the WWE Intercontinental Championship match between Champion Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, the return of Edge in “The Cutting Edge” and a “Date With The Deadman,” The Undertaker. How lovely. Certainly beats Raw.
*A RSN Wrestling Podcast Exclusive*
Check out this recent episode of The RSN Wrestling Podcast, where “Big Guy” Rich, “The Mastermind” Sal and “C.O.O.” Nick (PWO’s own) break down the pros and cons of the WWE Draft past and present and what could be done in future drafts!
By Anthony Zevoteck
Randomly, one Wednesday this past May, WWE shook the wrestling community when Shane and Stephanie McMahon both announced via social media there’d be a roster split to create two completely different shows with Raw and SmackDown.
The news was coupled with another announcement that SmackDown would be moved to Tuesdays and to air live, which would start Jul. 19.
Expectedly, the double bombshell was met with equal cheers and jeers from WWE fans alike. For longtime fans, this wasn’t new territory, as WWE had once split the roster before in 2002 upon a sudden influx of talent from the defunct World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling promotions. It was also due to the fact that at the time, four hours of weekly television time was too little to establish new talent and called for a difference between shows.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Another year, another chance for Roman Reigns to get into the WrestleMania main event and another year where he wins said chance.
Last year, it was against a heavy fan favorite in Daniel Bryan to take on the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at the time, Brock Lesnar. Fans were so into Bryan’s return that they actually forced Mania plans to change again, with Reigns needing to beat him to get to Mania and be bought as a “main-eventer.”
This year, we have Reigns (who already had a World Title run) gunning for the same position, only Triple H is Champion, Lesnar’s in his way as is his “brother” Dean Ambrose, the heavy fan favorite.
Predictable booking squandered all a great main event could offer and despite some good matches, an odd final few segments/matches won’t leave Fastlane 2016 in the “classic shows” conversations.
Seth Freakin’ Rollins
– WWE World Heavyweight and United States Champion Seth Rollins’ in-ring promo did drag on, but it was cool to see him soak up all the heat as he used the “boring” chants to help his ego boost and talked about how great he was. Sting interrupting to show he had the statue in his possession was funny, but maybe WWE should’ve gone more for a serious approach. Sheamus coming out to confront Rollins was entertaining to see and set up a potential outcome for Night Of Champions. Rollins didn’t hold back either, also resorting to insulting Sheamus’ look, which the crowd seemed to dig.
Boy, That Really Turned The Tables…
Welcome to the first “Notes in Observance,” which will feature random thoughts and analysis of recent television shows. You can find quick results of the show at the top of the post.
– Bray Wyatt def. Erick Rowan via pinfall.
– R-Truth/The Usos def. Adam Rose/Goldust/Stardust (w/Rosebuds) via pinfall
– Big Show def. Ryback via countout
– Tyson Kidd/Antonio Cesaro (w/Natalya) def. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) via pinfall
– Dean Ambrose and Curtis Axel to a no-contest
– The Ascension def. Two Local Jobbers via pinfall
– Non-Title – Roman Reigns def. Rusev (w/Lana) via DQ
– It almost felt natural to see Edge on Smackdown television. It was good to see him back on the show he once made “must-see television.” That said, the first segment pretty much just reminded everyone that The Authority was in power and that Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble, or J & J Security, were pushovers who would tattletale on what Edge and Christian did on the show to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Couldn’t Trips & Steph have just watched the show themselves like everyone else? Oy.
– Watching Bray Wyatt’s entrance was just a weird reminder of how stale his character is. The Wyatt we see now is the exact same as the one in 2013, just minus the family; a hillbilly hypnotizer who cuts strange promos. He was better as a stable leader. On his own, his character struggles. However, his feud with Dean Ambrose has been enjoyable, but it’s definitely Ambrose who is the star of it.
– The Bray Wyatt-Erick Rowan match was what it was, despite no hype, although fans won’t take to Rowan if he isn’t a “full rebel.” The finish pretty much showed that Rowan was open to accepting Wyatt again, just to fall victim to Sister Abigail again.
– Ryback and The Big Show just didn’t sound like a good match to begin with.
– Edge sporting an Antonio Cesaro shirt was interesting in itself. Don’t forget he wore a Sami Zayn shirt on Raw. It was obvious WWE sees Edge as a big name and while he hasn’t verbally endorsed Cesaro or Zayn, him wearing their shirts does say a lot.
– If only R-Truth could be a heel just one more time. If only.
– The big focus of the six-man tag between Adam Rose/Stardust/Goldust and R-Truth/The Usos was essentially that Rose doesn’t like The Bunny, R-Truth is a pandering follower, The Usos remain an exciting team and The Dusty Brothers do their own thing. Nothing special to it.
– Obviously, they had to show highlights of Daniel Bryan’s promo from Raw, but it might had been more effective to just play the whole thing in its entirety. Playing parts of Ryback’s “I’m human after all!” promo from Raw worked for Ryback because he was on the show about to wrestle, but Bryan didn’t appear on this show. Why not reap the full benefits of that epic promo?
– The Ryback-Big Show match ended up decent since there was a story being told of Show targeting the leg and that let the broadcast team remind everyone of just what adversities Ryback has overcome. The ending seemed lame in retrospect, but allowed Show to win, Ryback to look tough and let the Ryback-Rusev feud progress.
– It should be pretty easy for Tyson Kidd/Antonio Cesaro to rise through the tag team ranks. They also have a solid valet in Natalya. Pretty much the new “cool heels” and that entails no complaints. Los Matadores are jokes compared to them, which made the purpose of their match seemingly to showcase Kidd/Cesaro. Their finisher is sick and even their theme is badass. Not sure if they will surpass The Usos at this point, but that should at least provide an exciting feud for a few months.
– The Dean Ambrose-Curtis Axel match was made to make Ambrose look tough and Axel is someone just legitimate enough where it’s not a complete squash. Actually, it was more of a squash/promo. There was something “HBK”-esque about his “Happy New Year Hell” promo. They’ve been selling this match hard. Good for them.
– Time for Road Warriors 2015… Er, The Ascension. Their music and look would be cool if past teams didn’t own it before. Obvious squash match aside, it’s good to see that WWE has a big playlist of tag team players on the roster that can only get bigger and better with time. The key is to build everyone as much as possible and put them all against each other.
– It would have been cool to actually see a “greatest moments in Smackdown history” two-hour version of the show from SyFy, what with their “Throwback Thursday” social media campaign. Just throwing that out there.
– Uh-oh… E & C defaced the Trips & Steph fitness magazine cover… This probably won’t have repercussions later on in the future…
– Yeah, Roman Reigns was really going to decisively beat Rusev on the first WWE show of 2015. The match did show that Reigns is capable of being great when he turns the offense up a notch, but this was done mainly to put over Big Show as a threat, before turning the momentum back to Reigns. That would also be the second time a Smackdown episode has ended with the announce table flipped on top of Big Show. He should just stay out of that area…